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Letters to the Editor
Lincoln Daily News
601 Keokuk St.
Lincoln, IL  62656

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Legislator addresses Illinois farm issues          Send a link to a friend

Dear Editor:

I was disappointed to read Chuck Hartke's recent letter to the editor. I was surprised that Hartke, as director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, was unaware of Illinois' AgrAbility Act.

[Hartke's letter was posted by the Decatur Herald & Review. Scroll down on the Herald & Review page to view the letter.]

Last year, I sponsored and passed into law PA 94-0216 creating the Illinois AgrAbility Act to assist disabled farmers return to farming. Despite the fact that some 200 farm workers in Illinois are permanently injured each year, the administration to date has yet to fund the program.

I am also disappointed that while critical funding for AgriFIRST has been cut and funding for C-FAR remains anemic, a new line item was created last year to send $5 million to the Cook County Cooperative Extension Service, as well as another $5 million for fiscal 2007. And while there are very few farms remaining in Cook County, the Cook County Cooperative Extension Service will receive more money under the administration's budget proposal than C-FAR and AgriFIRST combined. These are dollars the state should spend on ag research, development and expansion of new markets for Illinois' products.

[to top of second column in this letter]

Agriculture is vitally important to the overall health of our state's economy. In my role as a lawmaker, I will oppose any attempts to shortchange downstate and our agriculture community and will continue to fight to increase our investment in agriculture and jobs.


Bill Mitchell
State representative

(Posted April 22, 2006)

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